|Posted on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 05:42 am: |
This novelette will be appearing within the next few weeks, as the closer of Keith DeCandido's sciffy antho, IMAGININGS; I make haste to mention it here because I consider it the best story of my career. So, quick plug (if anybody's here). ATC
|Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 05:35 pm: |
Yes, someone's here. Basic A-T C facts:
I have been been reading you since "Sunday Night..." topped out the Analog reader's poll. Since then I have caught up with most of your recent fiction (I did notice the reference to "Unseen Voices" in the most recent Marionettes novella). I have your Vossoff and Nimmitz collection on order, along with Imaginings (for the Turledove). So far, "Locusts" has been my favorite.
|Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 06:38 pm: |
"Locusts" is one of my faves, too, though I think I was wise to resist the advice (by a certain well-known horror writer) to turn it into a novel.
Glad to hear you're catchin' up, and I'm certainly impressed when anybody buys that hideously expensive hardcover...ATC
|Posted on Sunday, August 03, 2003 - 07:52 pm: |
IMAGININGS has shown up in stores. ATC.
|Posted on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 12:17 pm: |
I’ve just finished Imaginings, and found Of a Slow Sweet Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs the outstanding story of the anthology. Since you’ve asked for feedback, here’s my two cents, from my gut reaction—as I felt them reading the story—to later reminisces.
The beginning seemed much too good to be true. My gut feeling said: there will be a price to pay for this paradise. There certainly was, although I didn’t quite surmise how high it was to be. The battle scenes were stomach-churning and appalling at first read, and the contrast could hardly be greater. In the middle of those scenes I thought that this was going to be one of those ‘last visions before you die’ stories, in the manner of ‘Death on the Nile’ by Connie Willis and ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ by Ambroce Bierce. However, I was wrong on that count as the one day of horrible suffering recurs every tenth day. Still, I had this nagging feeling that I had read something similar long ago, where passages of personal idyllic hapiness were interchanged with revolting scenes of massacres, executions, war crimes of the worst kind and other incredible historic disasters.
Then it came to me: ‘Het smarán’ (full title: Het smarán, het vikka, de ronko en al de andere kleuren van de geschiedenis, 1973) of Flamish author Hugo Raes (born 1929, still alive as far as I know). I’ve read this one some 15 years ago. The title is hard to translate as the words “smarán”, “vikka” and “ronko” are made-up words, they are meant—I suppose—as imaginary colors: “The smarán, the vikko, the ronko and all the other colors of history” is a literal translation.
In any case: this novel tells of a historian that’s writing a personal anthology of the history of humankind. The pieces he selects are all very vividly, no-holds-barred descriptions of horrible executions, senseless slaughters, and other scenes of humanity at its basest. Worst of all being that all those scenes are historically accurate: these terrible bloodbaths have happened (and are happening, and will continue to happen). The novel also tells of this historian’s personal life: he has a happy marriage, he likes his job and life in general: these personal scenes are optimistic to the point of idyllic. The contrast between the scenes of the historian’s personal life and the immense historical cruelties are so enormous that my Dutch literature teacher told me he found it inpossible to finish the book. Mind you: he did not mean that negatively—he considered it a masterpiece—but just couldn’t make those ends meet. I finished it, and that I easily remember it now says a lot of its strength. ‘Het smarán’ did receive Belgium’s national literary award in 1973.
The main question that ‘het smarán’ asks is: how can we live in happiness while we impart so much cruelty elsewhere? How do we rhyme personal bliss with our species’ sad record of cruelty? Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs seems to give an—at least partial—answer: live the horror, integrate it as a part of your being. Maybe then, with the memory of unspeakable acts so fresh in our minds, will we keep from doing it to others.
Thought-provoking in the best sense of the word, and one of the top stories I’ve read so far this year. I hope this feedback is useful for you,
|Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2003 - 08:20 am: |
Thank you, Jetse. Sorry for the delay in response; I am here fitfully.
|Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2004 - 12:47 am: |
It really is an amazing novelette. Beautiful and terrifying, gruesome and exquisite all at once, Not many works can aspire to that.
|Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 05:33 am: |
Unexpectedly added to the Neb Ballot by the short fiction jury. Wow.
|Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 12:55 pm: |
Congrats Adam. I think I told you that elsewhere though. I wished I'd known of that anthology, it sounds good.
|Posted on Friday, February 13, 2004 - 03:13 pm: |
Congratulations, Adam-Troy. Hope it goes a long way.
|Posted on Tuesday, May 11, 2004 - 10:54 am: |
Did not win, as you know, but I just found out that it will be reprinted in the next Nebula volume. ATC.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 07:51 am: |
It is also now up on Fictionwise.